If you, like many, got a new furry friend from PAWS Adoption Center during the COVID-19 lockdown, you’re enjoying all the benefits of bonding with an animal. However, you may have come to the unfortunate realization that you have pet allergies. Fortunately, there are many ways to manage pet allergies, which we review below.
Get an Allergy Test
If you suspect you have an allergy to your new pet, the first step is to get an allergy test to confirm whether this is actually the case. An allergist can test to see whether you’re reactive to pet dander or whether any seasonal or household allergens could be to blame for your symptoms.
The most common allergy test is a skin prick test. For this test, an allergist places drops of allergen extracts in rows either on the forearms or back, then pricks the skin under the drop. If a red, raised bump known as a wheal appears, it means you’re allergic to that substance.
Create a Pet-Free Zone
If you do test positive to pet dander, there are strategies to help you manage symptoms. We recommend creating a pet-free zone, ideally your bedroom, so you have a place to go if your symptoms act up. Invest in allergy-proof bedding to minimize symptoms.
Run AC & Install HEPA Filters
You can purify the air in your home by running the air conditioner or installing portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. This will minimize the amount of allergens floating in the air.
It’s important to keep your home clean, especially carpets, rugs, curtains, bedding and pet beds in order to minimize exposure to dust and dander.
Bathe Pets Weekly
Bathing your pets regularly can help reduce the amount of dander – or dead skin cells – in their fur. It’s important to not bathe pets more than once a week, as this can dry out their skin and coat. Use shampoo specially formulated for the type of pet you have.
Try Allergy Treatments
Many people are able to successfully manage their pet allergies with over-the-counter medications like antihistamines, decongestants and corticosteroid nasal sprays. You can also talk to your doctor about immunotherapy, a long-term approach that works by helping your body build up a tolerance to allergens.
For more information about managing pet allergies or to schedule an appointment with an expert allergist, call Pinnacle ENT Associates today.